Smartphones have quickly developed into mobile computers. In fact, the average computing power of a current smartphone is more than a traditional desktop had just a few years ago. Because the device connects to the Internet and functions like computers, there are less than desirable similarities, including the potential for malware to end up on your mobile phone. If you have an Android-based device, you need to know how to remove malware from Android.
These steps will also work on Apple iOS devices. While Apple iPhones, iPads and others are less susceptible to malware, it is possible for such a device to become inflicted with malware.
Your Android and Malware
Android is the most commonly used mobile operating system in the world. It covers a wide spectrum of mobile devices from varying manufacturers. It is used on both tablets and smartphones, plus many hardware manufacturers release variations of Android to function on the specific device.
However, because the mobile operating system is not specifically built for one device (unless you have the Google Pixel, in which case Google builds both Android and the Pixel), it doesn’t fit as snuggly with the hardware within the device. This means it is more susceptible to possible external hacks and threats from malware. This makes it that much more important to know how to remove malware from Android to keep your device safe.
How Malware Enters Your Android Device
There are a few ways malware may end up on your mobile device, which is why you need to know how to remove malware from Android. These different ways are like what you’ll experience on a desktop computer, although not as extensive
First, you may connect with an infected website. The site might have malware attached to it in the form of a cookie which then transfers over to your mobile device.
Malware can also attack your Android phone through an open Wi-Fi connection. When using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, it is possible for anyone else on the network with basic Internet hacking knowledge to transmit malware from one device to another, including your mobile device. This isn’t all that likely but again; it is a possibility.
The many way malware ends up on your mobile phone though is through an infected email. More emails are now opened on mobile devices than on desktops and laptops. As Android is the most commonly used mobile operating system, it also means an email is more likely to be opened on an Android device than on Windows or MacOS.
This allows a malware designed the ability to craft a malware file and attach it to an email that is specifically designed for an Android operating system. Should you open the email and click on the link, the malware will download to your phone.
There are a few other ways malware might slip onto your device through varying applications and other unwanted downloads, but in general, all of these other methods are common ways unwanted and potentially dangerous files end up on your Android phone.
Signs Your Android is Infected
There are a number of signs you might have malware running on your Android device. These are also signs you need to know how to remove malware from Android. If you have any of these signs, it doesn’t mean your phone is definitely infected with malware, but there is a greater likelihood of having such undesirable material on your phone.
First, if you’ve noticed your phone is running slowly it is a potential sign your phone has been infected. This is especially the case if you turn off and restart your phone. Your mobile device develops a cache of files that can bog down performance. These files are cleared out when the phone is restarted, which is why you need to regularly restart the phone. If the phone continues to function poorly, there’s a good chance you are in fact infected and need to use these steps for how to remove malware from Android.
If you find pop-ups are appearing on your device, most notably with an application that does not have pop-ups, it may mean you have malware. Additionally, if random windows or applications load or attempting to transfer information from your device, you likely have been infected and need to know how to remove malware from Android. Realistically, once you know your phone is infected and you take the actions, you’ll not only be able to remove the malware from your phone, but you’ll be able to protect your phone from future attacks.
How to Remove Malware from Android
So whether you believe you have malware on your Android device or you want to be precautious, it is important for you to remove malware from your Android whenever necessary. All of this begins with knowing how to remove malware from Android and what the steps are. Thankfully it’s an easy process (it’s not as difficult as it is with some Windows viruses where you need to sift through system data files to locate corrupted malware files).
Downloading a Malware Removal App
Power up your Android-based device and head over to the Google Play store. Look in the app section and search for “Malware Removal.” You can also search for “anti-virus” if you’d like, as both should provide you with similar top results.
There are plenty of excellent free Android malware removal applications available. Go over the top results and look over the star rating for each. You will find several are above a 4.5 (out of 5) star rating and doesn’t charge. These malware removal applications will probably have running advertisements on the bottom of the app or the occasional window display advertisement, but for the most part, these advertisements will help keep the app free without preventing you from using the app.
You want to select a malware removal application that comes with a full system scan and, ideally, an email attachment scan. This way, if you do check your email on your mobile phone, you can scan over the attachment ahead of time and determine whether or not it is safe to open.
Running the Application
Once you have selected the application and allowed it to download, it should be ready to go in a matter of moments. Open the application and tell it to perform a full system scan. The system scan will take a few minutes to complete, depending on the size of your phone and how much information you have stored on it. Realistically though it should be done in a few minutes.
When the scan has finished, the application will inform you whether it has picked up a possible virus, malware, or any other undesirable files. Should the application identify these kinds of files, you need to tell the application to remove the files from your mobile phone.
After the files have been removed, you will be able to use the mobile device without fear of having malware running in the background, recording your keystrokes and stealing your personal information. You may also want to run some other malware removal application features. Some of these applications allow you to clear out collected caches and other files without restarting the device.
There are times where you need to have the phone running or when a restart doesn’t completely clear out the system cache. By using such a feature on your mobile phone, you can remove the hard to find cache files, which will free up valuable storage space while also improving the performance of your phone.
Updating Your Application and Operating System
It is very important to keep all of your applications up to date. Whether you have an operating system update or an application update, you need to download these when available. Many times these features are security-based and are designed to boost the application and device security of the mobile phone
By keeping all of your applications and the operating system up to date, you will avoid many of the problems you would likely run into had you avoided certain app downloads (just make sure to obtain the new files over a Wi-Fi connection, so you don’t use up your available data.
Whenever you have a device that connects to the Internet, there is always the potential threat of an external hack, virus or malware. In reality, an experienced and skilled hacker can gain access to any Internet of Things (IoT) device, including a Wi-Fi coffee maker or even smart light bulbs.
However, your mobile phone has become a major target as it houses a host of valuable information, ranging from social media log-ins to credit card numbers, bank account data and other material you don’t want out. That is why you need to not only know how to remove malware from Android but how to prevent malware from installing onto your device.
This is possible by using an anti-virus application on your mobile phone, which can identify malware, remove it from your device and protect your phone.